Conseil Interprofessionnel du Vin de Bordeaux

Sustainable supply

CIVB Bordeaux




Location: Bordeaux, France

Sector: Agriculture

Date of creation: 1948

Analysis by the association: March 2018

Ambitious environmental initiatives for the Bordeaux wine industry.


The Conseil Interprofessionnel du Vin de Bordeaux (Interprofessional Council of Bordeaux’s Wine Industry, or CIVB), created in 1948, represents and establishes the link between the three families of the Bordeaux wine industry: winegrowing, trading¹ and brokerage². Through inter-professional agreements extended by the public authorities, it enables collective regulations to be applied to the entire sector.

As such, the CIVB is in charge of 3 missions:

  • Marketing: develop the reputation of Bordeaux wines through their promotion in France and abroad,
  • Economic: to ensure the orientation, regulation and organisation of the Bordeaux wine market,
  • Technical: ensuring the quality of Bordeaux wines and supporting research to improve winemaking practices.
  • 6,600 winegrowers, 300 merchants, 36 cooperative wineries and 84 brokers who are members of the CIVB,
  • 1st employer in the Gironde region with 55,000 direct and indirect jobs in the wine industry (i.e. 1 in 10 employees in the Gironde),
  • 78% of departmental agricultural production,
  • 17 ha, average size in wineries, mostly family businesses, 21 bottles of Bordeaux are sold per second worldwide / 650 million bottles sold per year in France and abroad.
  • Sustainable supply

The Bordeaux Wine Sector is committed, with the Climate Plan 2020 started in 2009, to reduce the water consumption of wine production but also to reduce the use of fossil fuels along the processing chain by promoting the use of renewable energy.

  • Industrial and territorial ecology

The CIVB is an inter-professional organisation that facilitates exchanges and links between the different players in the Bordeaux wine sector, as well as organising its operation and planning long-term developments in the sector.

Project operation

Key numbers for Bordeaux wines, Objectives for Climate Plan 2020
Map of the Bordeaux vineyard and its designations

One of the primary objectives of the Bordeaux wine industry is to get 100% of the Bordeaux vineyards to commit to an environmental approach, bearing in mind that in 2017, 65% of the Bordeaux vineyards were committed to an environmental approach.

Several actions have been implemented in this way for several years:

  • 2009: After carrying out its first carbon assessment in 2008, the Bordeaux Wine Sector is committed to a collective environmental approach through its Climate Plan 2020, which includes the following 4 objectives by 2020:

Objectives of the 2020 Climate Plan; Roadmap of the 2020 Climate Plan

  • 2013: The 2nd carbon balance of the sector shows a positive result since an overall reduction of 9% of its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions has been achieved over 5 years (i.e. approximately 16,500 tonnes of CO2 eq per year on average). These results can be explained in particular by several actions, such as the reduction in the weight of glass bottles, despite the increase in expenditure on energy and greenhouse gases.

Evolution of the carbon footprint of the Bordeaux Wine Industry; Roadmap of the 2020 Climate Plan

  • 2020: To achieve the Climate Plan’s objective, these emissions must be reduced by 11% by 2020 (i.e. an average of 14,500 tonnes of CO2 eq per year). The main points of improvement identified are: optimising freight and travel, reducing inputs and direct energy (4) and valorising biomass.


Different sources d’of emissions of GHG of Bordeaux’s Wine Industry; Roadmap of the 2020 Climate Plan

Working groups of around fifty players from the sector with different profiles* met 5 to 6 times between 2015 and 2016 around the following 4 themes:

  • Vineyard management,
  • Vinification,
  • Transversal Initiatives,
  • Circular economy (recovery of by-products, recovery of CO2, etc…)

* Winegrowers, merchants, cooperative wineries, transporters, energy specialists, suppliers, researchers, etc.

One of the outcomes of these working groups is the Roadmap 2016. It is a pragmatic document, co-constructed with the actors of the sector and evolving, made available to them, describing the approach, the means and the tools to reach the objectives of the Climate Plan 2020, as well as examples of success stories illustrating the actions in the field that work on an individual basis, having an impact on one of the 4 objectives of the Climate Plan, and to be deployed at the scale of the sector to the greatest number. Action Sheets describe these success stories and provide concrete solutions to stakeholders.

Environmental Management System (EMS) for Bordeaux wines : 

In parallel with its Climate Plan, since 2010 the sector has been deploying a collective environmental tool to help as many companies as possible move towards Sustainable Development, in particular towards international ISO 14 001 certification. This collective certification is carried by the 1st Association for Bordeaux Wine EMS (5), which had 26 members in 2010 and already 210 in 2016.

This approach allows each company to :

  1. Carry out an environmental diagnosis using two types of indicators :
    1. environmental performance indicators (energy consumption, water consumption, treatment frequency index, participation in collective waste collection, measurement of biodiversity),
    2. system indicators (percentage of regulatory compliance, progress of action plans, etc.).
  2. Build your action plan by joining a working group and benefiting from individual coaching with an accredited EMS facilitator and the experience of the group members. The pooling of administrative constraints, costs and tools, allows the company to implement concrete actions to achieve ISO 14 001 certification,
  3. Control ones practices through the monitoring of environmental indicators and audits.
    The strength of this approach is the collective, the exchange of good practices and pragmatism in the field, supported by a powerful network.

Concrete examples of circular economy projects set up as part of the environmental approach of the Bordeaux wine industry:

  • Treatment of grape marc: a local distillery recovers grape marc free of charge from winegrowers and recycles it into compost, soil improvers, oil, baking soda or biogas. The compost and soil improver are then re-injected into the wine industry, each winegrower being free to buy them back or not,
  • EVPOH collection: skips or rubbish bags are made available to winegrowers to store their empty packaging of oenological and processing products. A specific collection is organised by a local service provider throughout the Gironde region during the European Week for Waste Reduction (November). The packaging is then incinerated to feed local boilers in other sectors,
  • VALECARB : installation of a network for the capture of fermented CO2 from vinification vats and reactors transforming the CO2 into bicarbonate (more information on the article Alcion Environnement, the company that set up this process),
  • ECOCEP : a channel for the energy and local recovery of vine by-products (vine stocks (6) , vine shoots (7) …). They are collected, crushed, sifted and mixed with other wood sources in order to feed local boilers. In 2017, Véolia recovered 50 tonnes of wood (bought back at €5/tonne) from the 14 producers involved in this project. The commitment of the entire Bordeaux vineyard (110,000 ha) would make it possible to heat 50% of the inhabitants of Bordeaux for one year.

Sustainable approach

  • Reduction in greenhouse gas emissions: 10kg of CO2 avoided in the atmosphere per hectolitre (hl) of wine produced using the VALECARB process,
  • Decrease in energy consumption: reduction of expenses related to equipment standby, management and optimization of electrical equipment, etc.
  • Use of renewable energies through the installation of solar panels and wind turbines,
  • Reduction in water consumption: – 30 to 50% thanks to the application of good cellar cleaning practices,
  • Reduction of waste thanks to the recovery of by-products (vine stocks, vine shoots, grape marc…),
  • Limitation of the use of chemical agents through the application of good cellar cleaning practices.
  • Reduction of fixed assets of machinery, equipment and tools thanks to the CUMA, Coopérative d’Utilisation de Matériel Agricole (Cooperative of Agricultural Equipment Use), allowing the sharing of equipment between winegrowers,
  • Savings on water and energy consumption,
  • Sale of by-products: purchase of unburned vine stocks at 5€/tonne by the company Véolia and sale of the sodium and potassium bicarbonates produced through the valorisation of fermented CO2,
  • Mutualisation of the costs of obtaining ISO 14 001 certification,
  • Collective search for subsidies for environmental approaches.
  • Time saving for employees thanks to the non-burning of vine shoots and good cleaning practices in the winery,
  • Employee safety: no inhalation of toxic fumes thanks to the non-burning of vine shoots and CO2 thanks to the equipment in the fermentation tanks avoiding the release of 5m3 of CO2 per hl of wine produced,
  • Sharing of tools and knowledge via collective working groups.

Replicability & future perspectives

From a technical and economic point of view, this type of approach is reproducible in other vineyards. However, it depends on the maturity of the winegrowers on these subjects, the interprofessional organisation in place, local partners and multiple external factors such as national policy, climatic hazards, etc.

Despite this, a number of limitations remain:

  • Lack of feedback from the field on the practices of professionals
  • Pooling of CUMA tools sometimes impossible due to simultaneous use of the tools.
  • Local opposition to the construction of a wind farm in the Médoc due to landscape deterioration and impact on wildlife
  • Oenotourism is not taken into account in the sector’s calculations, yet it would be the third largest GHG emitter after packaging and transport.


Carbon footprint of the Bordeaux wine industry 


  • Negotiation¹ = the term negoce is used in the wine trade to designate the wine trade and the entire profession related to it. The wine merchant can also, from grapes or very young wines, carry out all the winemaking and maturing operations up to the bottling of the wine.
  • Brokerage² = Brokerage refers to the profession of broker. The wine and spirits broker is a professional who, in the regions of production, and for a brokerage fee, puts producers in contact with merchants.
  • Greenhouse gases (GHGs)³ = greenhouse gases (water vapour, carbon dioxide, methane…) are gases that absorb the infrared rays reflected by the earth and thus trap thermal energy near the earth’s surface, warming the atmosphere. This phenomenon is called the « greenhouse effect ».
  • Direct energy4 = Direct energy is the energy consumption (electricity, gas or fuel) of the holding, while indirect energy is related to the manufacture and transport of inputs (fertilisers, plant protection products, seeds, etc.), as well as to the manufacture of equipment and buildings (depreciation).
  • EMS5 = Environmental Management System
  • Vine stock6 = individual plant
  • Shoots7 = woody stem or branch of the vine.

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